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6 Tips to get started with your new assignment as a consultant

World of Digits / Explore


Holidays are over! You’ve started a new mission and you feel somewhat out of place or have difficulties with your integration process? Don’t panic! This post will give you 6 keys to a better understanding of your new client’s ecosystem.
The world of organizations can seem complicated and difficult to understand or even define. So, let’s just start with demystifying the concept of company and see it as a laboratory with a specific structure and individuals.

With the help of Delphine, consultant in change management, and Viviane, consultant in organizational design, let’s schematize that playground so that you have a better grasp when you join a new project team or transformation program.

What’s the definition of a company?

According to the INSEE, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, a company is an entity “endowed with the legal personality. It is created in a trade purpose of producing goods or services for the market”.

To put it simply, the term “company” can be used when people join their competencies and energy and bring together material and financial resources in order to offer a product or services to staff members or clients.

As consultants, you’ll find in a company the ground for your professional and creative development. There, you’ll develop your competencies in bringing advice and assert your personality through creation.

Here are our 6 tips to a better understanding of your company

1. Identify the overall structure

your company and its ways of working lay on some common ground. Try to identify those characteristics from the start!

The company where you’ll work will indeed always be organized around 2 poles of operational activities: production and sales & marketing.

✔️ In production, you’ll find all of the teams working for the production of goods and services that the company sells.
✔️ In sales & marketing, you’ll find the teams that market the goods and services that the company produces.

2. Understand the roles

Then, try to understand the different roles in your organization – that often rely on internal competencies for its working. During the scoping phase of a project, it’s important that you identify all those trades/roles as they can be stakeholders or ambassadors of your project, be it Communication that will help promote your project internally or HR if your project is about developing an internal application.

You’ll find below a list of the different trades you’ll face during your project:

For “traditional” organizations 
Roles specific to “digital” oeganizations

3. Grasp how work is organized

Identify the type of structure in which you’re evolving! Companies can indeed
adopt different types of structure according to the way they split work (departmentalization extent).

The company will define the best suited structure according to a series of criteria such as its size and maturity, as well as its strategy, technologies and environnement.
A detailed analysis of the company’ structure and staff will allow you to identify and understand behaviors.

It will shed a light on the company’s ways of working and the difficulties encountered in the day to day of the organization.

You’ll find below the different types of structure you can face:

4. Communicate and evangelize about your assignment

Throughout your project, be it internal or external, make sure to keep the staff motivated, thanks to strong communication, repeatedly reminding the benefits of the project for everyone.  Education and patience are keys.

We recommend that you report to the staff about the project progress on a regular basis and that you involve them in the tests. The key here is to acknowledge and value everyone’s efforts.

These elements can be indicators that will help you assess the quality of the decisions and make adjustments if necessary. Ad-hoc meetings or training can also help correct some aspects that can still be improved.

In short, what makes a project a success is people’s committment and involvement.

5. Study the culture of your company

Every company has its own history, identity and specifics and develops a set of rituals, standards, beliefs, symbols and values shared by everyone.
Those values act as guides, references, mechanisms and reflexes for each staff member and are a source of emotions, and sometimes even resentment.

According to the project and undertaken changes, the company’s culture will contribute to ease/speed the transformation or, on the contrary, will interfere with the process and slow it down. That’s why in addition to think about the structures of the company, you need to study its very own culture.

To do so, you can for instance draw up and share an objective situation and a map of cultural values (based on interviews and our diagnostic toolkit of HR transformation), such as:

✔ The values that drive action
✔ The gap between the stated and perceived values
✔ Assessment of the strengths and obstacles, “pain points”, attention points related to the objectives (e.g.: the right to make mistakes, encouragement of risk taking, future-oriented outlook…)
✔ Comparative analysis of specific entities
✔ Share the diagnosis about the “cultural experience” conveyed by the company and lived by the employees.

6. Favour the concept of collective intelligence to successfully carry out your project!

Collective intelligence is the capacity of a community to have intelligence & knowledge converge towards a common goal. It results from the quality of interactions between people.

Collective intelligence is a fundamental concept for every organization, since it tends to minimize the barriers between hierarchy and teams. It’s an evolution towards a project-based organization.

When you think of the company, adopt a co-creation perspective, and consider it as a group of people having complementary skills.
This group needs to be motivated and managed so as to foster efficient collaboration.

Intending to minimize barriers between hierarchy and teams, collective intelligence is becoming a key concept in any organization.

The people you will meet are not reduced to the condition which is theirs in the company. Each of them makes their own contribution thanks to their own skills, and previous professional experiences, their understanding of the organization and its trades.

Collective intelligence can bring forward unsuspected directions for improvement that will benefit not only a project team, but also staff members, the company and the external end-users.

The key principles of collective intelligence lay on a union which does not exclude the individual, as it requires:

  • a shared identity and goal
  • autonomy for everyone
  • information transparency
  • reciprocity
  • shared learning and collaborative networking

At World of Digits, this is what we do with the Tribe “Organizational design”, i. e. benefit from every tribe member’s skills, offer you and your clients a methodology, bring together user knowledge and staff members to improve project management, and optimize the user experience.

We hope that this post will help you to kick-start your new assignment!

Written By Delphine and Viviane


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